Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Just a Couple Black Dagger Questions

As a palate cleanser from all my Betty Neels books, I'm finishing Lover Eternal, J.R. Ward's second romance in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.  As with Dark Lover, this one's an amusement park ride: fast, fun, frivolous.

This time around, though, I've got a few questions.  Anyone who's farther along in the series and thus knows the answers (or can explain to me why they're dumb questions) please leave a comment.

In no particular order:

1.  I can understand why Wrath can't contract even the common rhinovirus from a human (and, more importantly, not HIV), but the rest of the Brotherhood aren't pure blood vampires, so why are they immune?  (If the answer is, "They just are, damn it," I'm cool with that.)

2.  Okay, so they're immune from human viruses.  And they can heal really fast from any wound short of amputation.  How do they get headaches, then?  As I understand it, there are tons of serious causes of headaches (e.g., Rift Valley Fever, subarachnoid hemorrhage,  and increased intercranial pressure) but basically, a headache occurs when something is irritating some pain receptors inside the head.  Well, wouldn't those same super-fast healing qualities make the headache go away super-fast?  (And, in case you're still doubting this is a sensible question, consider that other vascular-rich organ south of the border -- that certainly seems to recover super-fast, right?)

3.  There's something odd about this business of the Change.  For one thing, it seems like a really bad adaptation from an evolutionary point of view.  You can't be sure when it's going to happen, you are a 98-pound weakling before it happens, it can kill you really easily (inadvertent exposure to light; no one suitable around to uh, "feed" you; etc.), and so forth.  Heck, who cares about the Lessers:  there would seem to be enough "attrition" from sheer biological losses that you could just let vampires be and they'd die off on their own.  So -- why do they have to go through the Change?  And why in two millennia has it not gotten easier, safer, or developed a better set of warning signs?

4.  Does anyone else just skip all the sections dealing with Mr. X and the rest of the Lessers, or is that just me?  When a book is 450 pages long, and my TBR piles have eaten a six-foot-long bench, and Mr. X is just boring, why read that stuff?  I want more of the 7-foot-tall hawt vamps!

5.  Who stuck Wrath with the sobriquet, "The Blind King"?  The heck with the punishment for Rhage -- I want see the dude who came up with that name get whipped with the "three-tailed pinecone lash."  Wrath was a cool dude before that label was stuck on him; now he sounds like something out of Mother Goose or the Brothers Grimm.

6.  Why are none of these guys gay?  Now, I gather that as the series drags on develops, there are a couple male characters that fans would like to see together.  And yes, from a marketing point of view, that might be tricky for Ward to carry off.  But none of that is really what I'm getting at.  The Brothers are all walking embodiments of the leather subculture, aren't they?  And while I can hardly claim to have the largest or most diverse social network, I have to say that all the guys I know who wear that much leather are gay.  So none of the Brothers are?  Really?

7.  Oh, and about those leathers.  Who cleans them?  Or, more to the point (because I imagine poor Fritz gets stuck with that job -- there's a reason doggens have such a canine-sounding name: they are loyal and obedient to a fault), HOW does one clean Brotherhood leathers?  Take Rhage for example:  He goes commando, has some serious adventures that are either strenuous, arousing, or both, and then changes into fresh leathers.  But how does the pair he just stripped off get "fresh" for the next adventure?

8.  I understand about all the meaningless sex Rhage has to have to keep his inner beast in check.  And how he can wipe the memory of the female he's coupled with so they don't remember him.  But someone "normal" has to have noticed the fangs, right?  Particularly at restaurants, when he's eating and otherwise using his mouth for normal mouthy things.  Do the Brothers have some sort of blanket memory shield that keep the concepts "7-foot-tall gorgeous guy" and "fangs" from getting linked in anyone's short-term memory banks?

9.  This one is a stupid question, and I really don't mean to be annoying (which is to say, I realize I am annoying, I just lack the specific intent for it to be criminal), but I have to ask it.  We have a handful of gorgeous guys, and only one is mated when the series starts.  Why?  The Brothers have been alive for hundreds of years, met myriads of human and vampire women, and only now they're bonding?  Doesn't that seem implausible?

10.  Last question, I promise.  What's "Wellsie" short for?


  1. I want more TGIF dates between Rhage and Mary. Their first date was too cute for words.

    Their doggen cleans their leather of course!

    The thing I love about these men is that they don't have sex until they turn 25. I guess it takes them another hundred years to find the one.

    I love Rhage. Sigh.

  2. I did love Rhage trying to date -- very adorable. And the cherry stem trick was awesome.

    But look, I KNOW Fritz cleans them, I just want to know how. They have to be getting pretty rank with various bodily aromas, and it's not like you can toss them in the wash with the jeans...

    Everyone says the next book (Lover Awakened) is the really great romance. I'm looking forward to it!

  3. The BDB boys have a lot of money. They probably just buy new leather each week.

    Lover Awakened is dark and angsty and wait until Z unleashes his mating scent! Yum.

  4. Hi Magdalen! I saw Katiebabs' cry for someone to come help over here and since I lurve the heck out of this series I thought I'd stab at a couple of your questions but I'm no Cellie (err I think that's what Ward's obsessed fans call themselves) so I may not be 100% accurate. That said...

    #1. I'm working on Lover Avenged right now and so far it seems that to a point Ward's vamp race do get sick with various things. But it seems that they are vamp versions of the stuff. Havers and his nurses have treated more than just wounds based on antibiotics being mentioned and another character mentions parkinson's and diabetes. But who knows about the Brothers themselves, they aren't typical civilian vamps according to the books.

    #2. See #1 and tack on that while they may not get human viruses or die from vamp ones their women have trouble carrying babies so there have to be some weaknesses of their physical selves Ward hasn't elaborated on too much.

    I think you make a good point asking all this... she asks us to suspend belief a lot and contradicts herself here and there with all this medical stuff. ;)

    #3. I agree about the bad evolutionary change but it makes for entertaining reading. LOL

    #4. I used to hang with some really cool gals on's paranormal romance forum and I heard this said by the majority of the readers there. I like the lesser's side of the story myself. But I'm partial to villains in general. I love a good bad guy and the lessers are really gross and creepy. After you read lover Awakened you'll hate them a lot more.

    #5. I can't remember if it's ever actually mentioned who named Wrath "The Blind King" but I recall that the Scribe Virgin is who gave Rhage his punishment and you'll find out more about it later in the series so I won't spoil it for you.

    #6. That's a good question and one that has lots and lots of debate behind it. Many fans were very unhappy about the Butch & V relationship's outcome. Personally I liked Butch and his heroine together but I liked Butch and V together too. Fans generally seemed to hate V's heroine (I would be one of them) as well. I've read some of Ward's excuses/reasons for not making them a couple and I respect her as a writer so I do get where she was coming from to a point. I hope that the pair of guy characters you'll meet later in the series maybe get together (I know Katiebabs is a fan too) but who knows. I think publishers shy away from letting an author do this so the only way I could see it happening is if fans asked for it loudly enough.

    #7. hehehehe we've all wanted to know about this one. Poor Fritz. I need to learn his secret.

    #8. I've wondered about this one... maybe there are a lot of tall men in Caldwell? :P I was just getting annoyed with this issue myself. But then I swear I read that Ward pictures all the brothers looking like pro wrestlers and I just never could. But then I'm also the woman who has never been able to picture V as anything but african-american looking. Doh!

    #9. It's been so long since I read those first books I can't recall if this is accurate but if I remember right the Brothers are kind of hated and looked down upon by the general vamp society. That and since they seem to have a short shelf life and tons of issues (Rhage the purple dinosaur, Phury the druggie, V's hand of doom...) maybe this would be why?

    #10. Wellsie is short for Wellesandra (I think I spelled it wrong but that's it).

    I hope I helped a little Magdalen. :) I also hope you enjoy the series. Lover Awakened is one of my all-time favorite romance reads.

  5. Oh, Magdalen honey, you're taking it all too seriously! The beauty of paranormals is that the author gets to make up all her own rules and mythology and it doesn't have to make sense. Ward's vamps live by different rules than the ones created by Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris and all the others.

    Really I'm not being flip. Enjoying these books requires a huge suspension of disbelief. You just gotta go with whatever outlandish stuff the author feeds you. Some of your niggles are dealt with in later books but Ward doesn't always remember to go back to resolve dangling threads.

    And yes, it's definitely okay to skim or skip the lesser bits. And how about that batty old scribe virgin? Who can explain her? These books don't stand up to too fine an analysis all that well.

  6. Katie -- Thanks for calling in reinforcements! I definitely see how the money helps with the lifestyle, but if they're changing leathers daily, that's a whole lot of lifestyle.

    Rhianna -- You're so kind to come and help me with my little inquiries. I love your answers, and they are very helpful -- really.

    Diana -- Did you not see that my tongue was firmly in my cheek as I wrote these, and that "They just are, damn it" was an acceptable answer to all these questions, not just #1?

    I'm loving the BDB, truly, and I take your point that world-building is hard enough without creepazoids like me demanding perfect coherence and logic. It's just the image of cleaning the leathers got me giggling and then I thought, "I can't blog just about the leathers problem. What other questions do I have here?"

    I really did need to know about Wellesie's name, though. (Thanks, Rhianna!)

    So, relax, I'm cool. Giggly, but cool!

  7. Oh absolutely! I know you're having fun with it. Ward does a pretty fine job at resolving niggles and loose ends, but I think she sometimes forgets or alters the past for plot convenience. No worries.

    The lesser POV is diminished in later books and that's definitely a good thing. But the batty old scribe virgin just gets crazier. I'm a little worried about the poor dear.


  8. Diana -- I love your comment about the Scribe Virgin.

    I just finished Lover Awakened; have to say I did not love it as much as Lover Eternal. I know others who think Lover Awakened was the Best Evah.

  9. Agree. Rhage has been my favorite. Shoot, he's almost "normal."


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